WALLACE – It was probably a bit closer than they would have liked after coming out so strong, but the Wallace High School Volleyball team was able to start their season with a win Thursday night after defeating the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy Panthers in a tight five-set game.
Trying to escape some bad habits from last year, the Lady Miners (1-0, 0-0 league) hoped to close out the Panthers after they took the first set 25-19 and the second set 25-23. Unfortunately for Wallace and head coach Anali Spooner, Cd’A Charter would make them work for it by storming back with wins in the third and fourth sets (14-25 and 21-25, respectively).
A reoccurring negative for the Lady Miners last year was a lack of finish down the stretch– consistently coming out strong, but many times loosing focus in the end.
“I think what happens is we do one bad pass or one bad set and we just get down,” Spooner explained. “Definitely a mental thing.”
Falling behind early in the shortened fifth set, Coach Spooner reminded her team what it was going to take if they wanted the win.
“Coming out winning our first two games felt really good,” She said. “but then to drop the third and the fourth and come down in the fifth game, especially when your down I was like ‘if you want it, you gotta prove it’ and they did.”
Thanks to some superb all-around play from seniors Hayley Oertli, Catie Sheppard and Maggie Howard; Wallace rallied to put their bad habits to bed and take the win 15-13.
Referred to by Spooner as the team’s “big three,” Oertli, Sheppard and Howard not only played well in the tie-braking match, but also throughout the rest of the game.
Oretli ended the night with three kills, one ace, and a team high seven assists.
“Hayley, especially our center, really stepped up. She played awesome,” Spooner said.
Both Sheppard and Howard powered the Wallace offense with a combined nine kills and one assists (Howard- four kills, one assist. Shepard- five kills).
The girls’ Thursday night victory over higher league Cd’A Charter was not only their home opener, but it was also their first regular season game.
Overall, Spooner was pleased with her team’s effort and determination to not let down after Cd’A had tied it up.
As they get ready for their next game on Tuesday against Superior/Alberton, Montana, Spooner hopes to tighten up some aspects of their game that are normally their strengths– such as serving.
“Tonight it was a little off,” she said. “We have been serving a lot this week to prepare for tonight (Thursday’s game) so well be working on that at practice again.”
The Aug. 28 game will be at 6 p.m. in Wallace.